Eagles

Everything you need to know as Eagles begin 2021 training camp

Eagles

After an offseason of change and turnover, there’s some natural excitement in the air as the Eagles begin training camp with their first practice of the summer on Wednesday morning.

There’s a new coach, a new quarterback and new hope as the Eagles try to rebound from a disastrous 4-11-1 season in 2020.

We’ll be covering training camp with daily reports and also with frequent Eagle Eye podcasts.

Here are 10 offensive players to watch at camp.

Here are 10 defensive players to watch at camp.

Here’s my pre-camp 53-man roster projection.

And here’s everything you need to know about this year’s training camp:

Key dates

The Eagles reported to training camp on Tuesday and will host their first practice on Wednesday, July 28 at 10 a.m. at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia.

Here are the key dates to keep in mind this summer:

July 27 — Eagles report to training camp

July 28 — First training camp practice, 10 a.m.

Aug. 8 — First public practice at Lincoln Financial Field, 7 p.m.

Aug. 12 — Preseason opener vs. Steelers at at the Linc, 7:30 p.m. 

Aug. 16-17 — Eagles host joint practices with the Patriots at NovaCare Complex

Aug. 17 — Roster cut down from 90 to 85

Aug. 19 — Preseason game No. 2 vs. Patriots at the Linc, 7:30 p.m.

 

Aug. 22 — Second and final public practice at the Linc, 7 p.m.

Aug. 24 — Roster cut down from 85 to 80

Aug. 24-25 — Eagles travel to Florham Park, N.J., for joint practices with Jets

Aug. 27 — Preseason finale at Jets, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 — Roster cut down from 80 to 53

Sept. 12 — Regular season opener in Atlanta, 1 p.m.

Attending training camp

The days of getting the whole family in the car and trekking to Lehigh University are long gone and there aren’t opportunities to watch the Eagles at practice daily anymore. But the Eagles are hosting two open practices (Aug. 8 and Aug. 22) at Lincoln Financial Field.

Tickets for these practices are $10, with proceeds going to support the Eagles Autism Foundation. Parking for these practices is free. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets can click here.

Additionally, the two joint practices against the Jets in North Jersey are also open to fans with tickets. The Jets’ website says they are already sold out. (The Jets practice facility holds fewer people than the Linc.)

Key storylines

Jalen Hurts’ time to shine

Yes, there’s plenty of chatter about Deshaun Watson as the Eagles begin camp but that shouldn’t take away from Hurts’ moment. He entered an extremely awkward situation last season and always acted like a starter. Now his position with the team matches that attitude. No one really knows what to expect from Hurts in Year 2, but he’s a confident and poised 22-year-old quarterback who definitely has enough intriguing tools to have a chance at success.

He came in at No. 1 on my list of the 20 most important Eagles of 2021 and I didn’t give that a second thought. Hurts is going to be the focal point of the Eagles’ offense this season and it really feels like the Eagles will go as far as he takes them. If the Eagles have any chance of competing for the NFC East this year, Hurts will need to improve and perform well.

Is Nick Sirianni the right coach?

The Eagles this offseason clumsily fired the only head coach to ever lead them to a Super Bowl victory. After the dust settled on a long and exhaustive coaching search, the Eagles hired 39-year-old Nick Sirianni, who had served the last three years as Frank Reich’s offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. This wasn’t exactly the most popular choice. But neither was the decision to hire Doug Pederson in 2016 or Andy Reid in 1999. So it’s only fair to give Sirianni a real chance.

After an unfortunate first press conference, we’ve learned a lot about Sirianni, his energy and his passion for competition. What’s really important, though, is it seems like the veterans on the Eagles’ roster have bought in. That’s key.

This summer, we’ll see how Sirianni really plans on putting a stamp on this franchise.

The left tackle competition

 

The battle to be the Eagles’ left tackle is straight out of a movie. The first-round pick, who has already been counted out by plenty, especially after a year-long injury vs. the mammoth former rugby player and seventh-round draft pick. How’s that for intrigue?

All eyes will be on Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata and for good reason. There’s a chance that whoever wins this competition won’t just become the left tackle in 2021, but will hold that spot for years.

The Zach Ertz situation

Zach Ertz is still an Eagle … but will he be come Sept. 12, when the Birds open their season? That’s the big question. Because Ertz reported to training camp and maybe his issues with the front office are really behind him. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to be back in 2021.

The Eagles have a tough decision to make. On one hand, they probably are a better team with Ertz on the roster in 2021. On the other, Dallas Goedert is poised to take over the No. 1 tight end spot and trading or releasing Ertz would save the Eagles $8.5 million in cap space.

The first-round rookie

The Eagles drafted a receiver in the first-round last year, taking Jalen Reagor at No. 21, but there’s obviously more excitement about DeVonta Smith going into his rookie year. Expectations are high for the No. 10 pick and Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama and they should be. Everyone is going to be watching Hurts all summer, but we’re also going to be watching how he works with his new No. 1 receiver and former Crimson Tide teammate.

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